WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
NOVEMBER 12, 2021
TOPIC: USE YOUR GIFTS WITH HUMILITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“And they said to him, ‘We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.’ So Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please’” (Genesis 40:8 New King James Version).
Charles Spurgeon said, “There is nothing into which the heart of man so easily falls as pride, and yet there is no vice that is more frequently, more emphatically, and more eloquently condemned in Scripture.” Pride is not an evil that only non-believers are prone to. It is an evil that Christians could easily practise. This includes those serving in leadership positions in the vineyard of God. And as Spurgeon rightly said, the Bible condemns pride unequivocally.
Proverbs 29:23 says, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor” (New King James Version). Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2 New King James Version). Use your gifts with humility; don’t let God replace you because of pride
Remember Lucifer. Satan or Lucifer was cast down from heaven because of pride. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isaiah 14:12-15 New King James Version).
Lucifer was an anointed cherub until iniquity was found in him when he rebelled against God (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isaiah 14:12-14). Cherubim are celestial beings associated with the worship and praise of God. This suggests that, as an anointed cherub, Lucifer was involved in the worship of God.
He was the perfection of wisdom and beauty (Ezekiel 28:12) but he, probably, felt that he was also good enough to be receiving worship. Therefore, he said he would promote himself above God and be like God (Isaiah 14:13-14). But his rebellion was foiled, and he was cast out of heaven.
Don’t also forget Nebuchadnezzar. He was humiliated because of pride (Daniel 4:29-37). Every child of God must be careful of pride. Those serving Him must run away from pride. Some spiritual gifts make one more susceptible to pride than others. Those whose gifts put them in the spotlight or limelight must be extremely careful that they don’t fall into pride. Whatever gifts God has given you, use them with humility.
In Romans 12, God likens the body of Christ to the human body which has many members (parts), and each member has different functions. God gives a variety of gifts because no single gift can perform all the functions in an assembly or in the body of Christ. Verse 6 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them …” (New King James Version). “Differing gifts” means varying or different gifts. Use the gifts God has given you but be mindful of pride.
Whether you’re an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, or a pastor and teacher, know that it’s not an achievement; you are a gift to the church. In Ephesians 4:11-13, after Christ’s ascension to heaven, He gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Nobody is an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, or a pastor and teacher because he deserves it. God chose him. Therefore, there is a need for humility as each person functions in his office. Hebrews 5:4 says no one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honor; He must be called by God for the work, just as Aaron was.
Ministry is not for showing off. It is divine service. And everyone whom God has given one gift or the other must not allow it to go to his head. He must never have the impression that he is the best thing that has ever happened or that he is better than others. We are given different gifts. God knows why he gave you yours and you will give account to Him one day.
In Genesis 40:8, we see the humility of Joseph as he used his gift of interpretation of dreams in the prison for the chief butler and the chief baker. “And they said to him, ‘We each have had a dream, and there is no interpreter of it.’ So Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell them to me, please’” (Genesis 40:8 New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “And they replied, ‘We both had dreams last night, but there is no one here to tell us what they mean.’ ‘Interpreting dreams is God’s business,’ Joseph replied. ‘Tell me what you saw.’” You could see that Joseph was not boastful. Rather, He magnified God. This is how you should use your gifts – to magnify God, not yourself.
Joseph did the same thing before Pharaoh when he was bought from the prison to interpret his dreams. When Pharaoh told Joseph that he had heard that he could understand a dream, to interpret it, Joseph didn’t begin to boast. He simply answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16 New King James Version). Joseph used his gift with humility.
Also, Daniel used his gift of interpretation of dreams with humility. He magnified God before Nebuchadnezzar, not himself. “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, ‘The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days’” (Daniel 2:27-28a New King James Version). Daniel went ahead to tell the king his dream and the interpretation without boasting that he could do what the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans could not do.
Furthermore, in Daniel 5, Daniel demonstrated humility in the use of his gift before Belshazzar, as he told him the meaning of the mysterious writing on the wall, having been recommended to him, following the failure of the astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers to interpret it.
The king told Daniel that if he could read the writing and interpret it, he would be clothed cloth with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck. He would be the third ruler in the kingdom. But Daniel answered, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation” (Daniel 5:17 New King James Version). Joseph, as a good steward of God’s gift, was not moved by the reward the king promised. Nevertheless, the king fulfilled his promise to Daniel after he had read and interpreted the writing.
In Acts 3, we see Peter’s humility following the amazement of the people after he had healed the lame man at the Beautiful Gate who was born lame; he was over 40 years old (Acts 3:2; 4:22). “So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?’” (Acts 3:12 New King James Version). Peter did not take credit for the man’s healing. He knew that it was in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, that he rose up and walked, as he had commanded the man (verse 6).
Use your gift with humility. Consider it a privilege to have been given the gifts by God. Peter humbled himself as he arrived in the house of Cornelius to fulfil the ministry God had sent him to do. He wasn’t puffed up with spiritual pride when Cornelius bowed down to worship him. “As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I myself am also a man’” (Acts 10:25-26 New King James Version). Peter refused to be worshipped like a god just because he had come to minister to Cornelius and his household.
Also, in Acts 14:14, Barnabas and Paul refused to be treated as gods after they had healed a man, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. The people had shouted in amazement that the gods had come down to them in the likeness of men. Therefore, they called Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Furthermore, the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes (Acts 14:11-13).
Barnabas and Paul didn’t consider themselves as superhuman beings and enjoy the people’s idolatry! When Barnabas and Paul heard what the people said, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude telling them they were men with the same nature as them, preaching to them to turn from the useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that were in them (verses 14-15).
Don’t be proud because of the people’s attention you’re receiving or the prominence your gifts are giving you. Use your gifts with humility. Make God your focus; don’t attract people’s attention to yourself unduly. Be the colt that Jesus is riding on and know that the honour or applause by the people is not for you (Mark 11:7-10). Give all the glory to God.
When human beings celebrate or praise you, be humble. Don’t forget your Source. Don’t appropriate to yourself the glory due to God. Be a good steward of God’s gifts. 1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (New King James Version).
Use your gifts with humility. What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not? (1 Corinthians 4:7).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of any way I have been proud in the use of my gifts. I acknowledge that I received my gifts from You and there is no reason to boast. Henceforth, I shall use my gifts with humility. I shall magnify You, not myself. I will call people’s attention to You, not myself. Holy Spirit, cause many people to see Christ through me, not me. Help me to remain humble as Christ works through me.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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